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Stallman's Attack on Ubuntu Linux is Bad News for Canonical

ubuntuFrom the 'Don't Mess with RMS' files:

Richard Stallman (RMS),the Father of Free Software doesn't like Ubuntu Linux. Stallman posted a scathing diatribe against Ubuntu on Friday.

"If you ever recommend or redistribute GNU/Linux, please remove Ubuntu from the distros you recommend or redistribute," Stallman wrote. "In your install fests, in your Software Freedom Day events, in your FLISOL events, don't install or recommend Ubuntu. Instead, tell people that Ubuntu is shunned for spying."

The key issue for Stallman isn't about Free Software here, it's about spyware. Ubuntu 12.10 includes some integrated Amazon search capability that has concerned many for months. Why Stallman didn't go after Ubuntu earlier, I'm not sure, but the fact that he has now is not good for Ubuntu.

While some might brand Stallman as being on the fringe of software adoption today – I'd argue otherwise. His influence is still not to be trifled with as Ubuntu's rival Red Hat understands full well.

It's not about money either, it's about software freedom and privacy.

I've asked multiple Red Hat CEOs including former CEO Matthew Szulik and current CEO Jim Whitehurst about Stallman over the years. Red Hat's executive management in private or in public has never said anything but the most positive things about Stallman to me. Red Hat respects Stallman.

That's right Red Hat, a company that generated a billion dollars from Linux last year, respects Stallman. Stallman (AFAIK) has never told anyone to not use Red Hat in the same way he has now gone after Ubuntu.

Certainly there are some people that won't care what Stallman says, but there are a lot who will. No question this will have an impact on some level of grassroots adoption for Ubuntu. Companies and cloud adopter may not care, but the people do outreach and getting small business and individuals started on Free Software operating system will care – and they will care a whole lot.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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